The Audi A3 has been delayed again.
The redesigned small hatch and sedan range, including the sporty S3, is now set to arrive early in 2022.
Audi Australia had said in December 2020 the launch of the A3 and S3 was being pushed back to the end of 2021 due to COVID-19-related delays.
Prior to that, it was supposed to be here in Sportback form by the end of 2020 with the sedan following in early 2021.
Audi officially revealed the A3 in March 2020, by which time more than 250 million people were in COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe – inauspicious timing for a new car launch. European deliveries nevertheless began later that year.
The latest delay means that, by the time the A3 arrives in Australia, it could be over two years since it went on sale in Europe. Its Volkswagen Golf Mk8 and Skoda Octavia platform-mates are already on sale.
As reported by CarExpert earlier this year, government documents show a two-tier A3 line-up at launch comprising the 35 TFSI and the 40 TFSI quattro.
The 35 TFSI will get a newer 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine from the Volkswagen Group stable and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – as opposed to the 1.4 TSI and eight-speed torque-converter auto now available in the related Octavia and Golf.
The 1.5 TFSI is almost certainly the same engine from the updated Q2, with quoted outputs of 110kW and 250Nm. Drive is sent to the front wheels.
In the Q2, the 1.5-litre unit also features Cylinder on Demand (CoD) technology, which can shut off two cylinders under low load for enhanced efficiency.
Meanwhile, the A3 40 TFSI quattro will get a 140kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo, an on-demand all-wheel drive system, and a seven-speed dual-clutch. The same engine features in the Q2, along with the Skoda Karoq.
The S3, for which pricing and local specifications have already been officially announced, uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 228kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
That means we get the same tune as Europe, instead of a detuned engine as in the previous-generation S3.
Drive will be sent to a quattro all-wheel drive system via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
While local specifications have yet to be confirmed, Audi’s recent form indicates we can expect a reasonably high level of standard equipment.
All models should get a version of the Virtual Cockpit digital instruments as standard – base models in Europe get a basic 10.25-inch display with a more sophisticated 12.3-inch unit optional – as well as the latest MMI touch infotainment system with a 10.1-inch central touchscreen.
Expect satellite navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay as standard, as well as dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, leather upholstery, LED headlights, keyless entry/start, and ambient lighting.
All models should come with all-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, a reversing camera, as well as front and rear parking sensors.
Audi will likely offer an option package on lower grades with adaptive cruise assist (cruise and lane assist).
Sometime during the first half of 2022, Audi will launch the RS3 Sportback and Sedan.
Packing 294kW and 500Nm from a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine, the new RS3 will rocket from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 290km/h with the optional RS Dynamic package.
Audi’s wildest compact performance cars will bring a new RS Torque Splitter with fully-variable torque vectoring between the front/rear axles and left/right wheels, as well as a Drift Mode capable of sending 100 per cent of available torque to the outside rear wheel.
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